Nepal. In April, Nepal suffered the worst earthquake in
80 years. The earthquake had its epicenter between the
capital Kathmandu and the country's second largest city
Pokhara, west of Kathmandu. Around 9,000 people died and
twice as many were injured in the quake, which was measured
at 7.8 on the Richter scale. Several aftershocks and
avalanches were also triggered as a result of the quake.
Among other things, 250 people were reported missing after
an avalanche was triggered on a well-known hiking trail in
the Langtang area, north of Kathmandu.
COUNTRYAAH, the earthquake also hit hard on the country's cultural
heritage. Adjacent to the Kathmandu Valley were several
millennial buildings and temples that were demolished, such
as a well-visited nine-storey stone tower, Dharahara, from
the 19th century. According to the UN agency UNESCO, seven
groups of buildings and monuments in the Kathmandu Valley
are listed on the organisation's World Heritage List and,
after a preliminary assessment, at least three monuments
were severely damaged. The oldest buildings in the valley
are from the 500s.
The UN estimated that 8 million people, just over a
quarter of the country's population, were affected by the
earthquake. Houses, schools and infrastructure were
destroyed and millions of people lacked food and water.
International relief efforts were directed at the country,
which according to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala was in
great need of medicines and tents. To speed up the relief
effort, the United States sent helicopters and aircraft with
supplies to villages difficult to reach via highways. 90% of
the country's residents live in rural areas and in
mountainous regions where accessibility is difficult.
In May, Nepal was shaken by a new powerful quake, this
time with magnitude 7.3. Up to 70 were reported dead and
over 1,200 injured. The quake that occurred in Sunkhani in
eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest and the city of Namche
Bazar, did not cause as extensive damage as its epicenter
was further from the settlement.
The total cost of reconstruction after the two
earthquakes was estimated by the Nepali authorities to the
equivalent of almost SEK 60 billion.
In June, the annual monsoon rains began, causing further
damage to the already heavily ravaged country. Several
landslides as a result of the rain took several lives. In
the northeastern part of Nepal, 35 people were killed and
six villages were buried.
In parallel with the severe natural disasters, unrest was
underway in connection with a new constitutional proposal,
which meant that the country would be divided into seven
different provinces. In August, Parliament agreed on a
proposal, triggering violent protest actions as residents
feared that the regional divide would lead to their country
ends being neglected. Over 40 protesters and police died in
the clashes that occurred in several parts of the country,
especially in the south and west. People were blocked in
protest of roads to, among others, India, and transport
problems arose which led to fuel shortages. But despite the
turmoil, Parliament adopted by a large majority the new
constitution, which made Nepal a secular, federal state with
In October, Parliament appointed Khadga Prasad Sharma
Oli, leader of the United Marxist-Leninist Communist Party
(UML), as prime minister. Later that month, Parliament
elected Bidhya Devi Bhandari from UML as new president.
Bhandari, who was Minister of Defense between 2009 and 2011,
said she would do her best to protect the constitution and
work for the country's development and prosperity. It was
the first time that young democracy, which was governed by a
single royal family for many years, got a female president.
In December, more than 200,000 families were still living
in makeshift buildings or tents in cold winter conditions,
while the unrest in connection with the new constitution